Manny Ramirez set to make Triple-A debut for Cubs as 42-year-old player/coach

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One month after signing a minor-league contract with the Cubs to serve as a Triple-A player/coach Manny Ramirez is ready to make his Iowa Cubs debut.

Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that Ramirez will be in Iowa’s lineup Thursday and the team released journeyman outfielder Casper Wells to make room for him on the roster.

Cubs president Theo Epstein has made it very clear all along that there’s no chance of the 42-year-old Ramirez being called up to the majors, but explained that “he’s a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization.”

That now includes stud prospect Kris Bryant, who was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A last week, joining fellow top prospect Javier Baez in Iowa.

Ramirez played 30 games at Triple-A for the Rangers last season, hitting just .259 with three homers and a .698 OPS, and in 2012 he wasn’t any better at Triple-A for the A’s.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.